Skip to main content

College President Apologizes for Saying 'All Lives Matter' Instead of 'Black Lives'

Kathleen McCartney, president of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, recently apologized for sending out an email last Friday with the subject line, "All Lives Matter."

The email was sent to college students, staff and faculty regarding the recent police killings of unarmed black people.

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the email includes ways that the college could “teach, learn and share what we know” and to “work for equity and justice.”

McCartney announced the college’s plan to institute a new chief diversity officer to advance social justice on campus.

She also said that Eric Garner died from “excessive force” by police and added, “We are united in our insistence that all lives matter.”

However, that inclusive message offended some students because of the "all lives matter" phrase.

One of the students wrote McCartney an email that said in part: “It minimizes the anti-blackness of this the current situation, yes, all lives matter, but not all lives are being targeted for police brutality.”

However, people of several races have been killed by the police. D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News & Review, created a website,, to crowdsource the number of police killings and the races of the people killed.

According to Campus Reform, Sophia Buchanan, a Smith student, tweeted: “No, Kathy. Please do not send out an email saying ‘All lives matter.’ This isn't about everyone, this is about black lives." Buchanan has since made her tweets private.

McCartney sent out a second email six hours later to soothe the offended students with an apology for using the the phrase, “all lives mater,” which was co-opted by some on Twitter as a counter slogan to the hash tag, “#BlackLivesMatter.”

McCartney also led a vigil on Monday afternoon in support of black people who have suffered abuse from the police.

About 130 people attended, including several students who said McCartney was right to apologize for saying that "all lives matter."

“It felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives,” said sophomore Cecelia Lim.

“A lot of my news feed was negative remarks about her as a person,” added sophomore math major Maria Lopez. “She acknowledged her mistake."

(Correction: An earlier version misstated that Northampton was in New Hampshire)

Sources:, Campus Reform, Daily Hampshire Gazette / Image Credit: MacAllenBrothers


Popular Video